Rough Seas and a Healthy Breeze – Orcas Near Lopez Island

[Lauren Fritz, M/V Kestrel, 08/13/17, 10 am Tour]

Wow! Today was one of those rough days that don’t come around too often out here in the Salish Sea. We’re lucky enough to be relatively protected by Vancouver island from the winds that are sweeping northeast over the Pacific Ocean, but some days the wind just has a mind of it’s own. The Strait of Juan de Fuca was seeing some big swell. But does it affect orca sightings? Read on…

Well, you don’t need to read on that far, because I’ll just tell you now – nope! There’s no scientific basis as to whether whales like calm or rough seas – there are probably perks of both, but as a whale watcher, it’s much more difficult to see them in choppy weather. That didn’t stop us from watching a big group of T65a’s as they cruised along the Lopez Island shoreline, happy as clams even though the wind was a bit bristly. This family was traveling south, and it was amazing to watch them as they surfaced to breathe. Orcas are incredibly intelligent creatures, and to be able to watch them in their natural habitat is always a treat! This is a really fun family to watch, as there’s a variety of ages and sizes. I love the beautiful looks at their exhalations, some of which I somewhat managed to capture with my camera. What do you think? There’s something majestic about a whale’s blow.

We also saw some amazing bald eagles throughout the trip, and harbor seals galore! Wildlife here is always extremely diverse and plentiful. Check out my favorite photos of the trip. Thanks to those who came on board!

Naturalist Lauren, San Juan Safaris


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